12/03/2011 11:47 EST | Updated 02/02/2012 05:12 EST

The 99% Are the Truly Rich


OMG! Of all the callousness. Check out this video to catch an idea of just how removed some of the wealthy one per cent are from the struggles of average families.

At least he claims he's a member of that elite group, though he didn't identify himself. Yet his identity was transcended by his naiveté when he blatantly commented to a reporter that he doubted "anyone great" ever came out of the 99 per cent.

At a time when poverty and homelessness are at unacceptable levels and when the majority of citizens are either unemployed, partially employed, or fully employed at minimum wage levels with no benefits, this qualifies as one of the most insensitive remarks of the modern era. Veterans without benefits, seniors on fixed pensions, students unable to afford university or college, and the sick without enough Medicare -- how this must infuriated them.

But it's more than that, surely. The 99 per cent built a nation, designed remarkable feats of architecture, protected us from Nazism, fascism, communism and terrorism, raised successful families against increasing economic odds, built remarkably successful businesses, sacrificed for their communities and cared for their world. Only a blind ideologue could overlook such important contributions.

He's correct about me, of course -- I will never amount to anything great. But I'd like to introduce Mr. Hardhearted to my wife. Perhaps he'll learn an important life lesson.

Jane is a university graduate who opted to work at a food bank instead of moving on to a more lucrative career as a zoologist. She cared for her aging parents and worked with all three levels of government to provide poverty relief to marginalized families both here and around the world. She has met with prime ministers and held the perishing in Rwanda as the genocide journeyed through to its tragic conclusion. She ministered to the starving in Somalia, attended the Earth Summit in Rio, fed the hungry in Iraq during the Gulf War and the threatened in Bosnia during the conflict. She personally helped with the freedom of slightly over 10,000 slaves in Sudan during Africa's longest running civil war.


It was from this last great humanitarian adventure that she eventually adopted three Southern Sudanese orphans from slavery and brought them to Canada. It is a story remarkable in the telling and emotional in the hearing. For all of this Jane has received the highest accolades from her community and her country -- all this while working for a minimal wage at a food bank that helps over 3,000 families a month. And I should add that she captivates a husband who happens to believe she is the most remarkable person he has ever met.

So, you're right Mr. Hardhearted -- she'll never make in her lifetime what you likely make in six months. But the people she has freed and fed, the refugees to whom she has provided needed hope, the community she has led for 25 years, and the family for whom she has sacrificed would regard her as one of the truly great elite of the world. While others took their wealth and their talents and moved ever upward in influence, she took all of her remarkable traits and journeyed down to the most forgotten people on Earth and enriched them with blessings that couldn't be purchased.

I hope you apologize for the pain you have caused. But if you're experiencing a bit of trouble accepting who is truly great in this world, spend an hour with someone who possesses riches of sympathy and sacrifice that could never be purchased. But you'll need humility to learn that lesson -- something she also happens to possess in endless measure.